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Meaning of “actually” in the English Dictionary

"actually" in British English

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actuallyadverb

uk   /ˈæk.tʃu.ə.li/ us   /ˈæk.tʃu.ə.li/
  • actually adverb (IN FACT)

A2 in fact or really: I didn't actually see her - I just heard her voice. So what actually happened?

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  • actually adverb (SURPRISE)

B1 used in sentences in which there is information that is in some way surprising or the opposite of what most people would expect: I didn't like him at first, but in the end I actually got quite fond of him. I'm one of the few people who doesn't actually like champagne.humorous Don't tell me he actually paid for you!

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  • actually adverb (SAYING NO)

B2 used as a way of making a sentence slightly more polite, for example when you are expressing an opposing opinion, correcting what someone else has said, or refusing an offer: "Alexander looks like he'd be good at sports." "Actually, he's not." Actually, Gavin, it was Tuesday of last week, not Wednesday. "Do you mind if I smoke?" "Well, actually, I'd rather you didn't."

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(Definition of actually from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"actually" in American English

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actuallyadverb [not gradable]

us   /ˈæk·tʃu·ə·li/
used to say that something is true, esp. when the true situation may not be known: We actually had a hard time moving the sofa.
Actually is often used when you want to emphasize that something is surprising or unusual: He actually expected me to pay for his dinner.
(Definition of actually from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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